3-month extension of Duterte’s special powers sought
MANILA, Philippines — A House leader is seeking a three-month extension of the special powers granted to President Rodrigo Duterte to address the coronavirus pandemic under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said on Monday that he would file a bill on Tuesday that would extend the validity of Republic Act No. 11469, which is effective for only three months.
The powers granted to the President under that law include authority to reprogram, reallocate and realign savings on items in the 2020 budget and utilize other legally available unspent funds, such as those in government-owned and -controlled corporations.
Duterte was also given the right to cancel projects and declare savings that would be diverted to response measures for COVID-19, use unused or unreleased appropriations from the 2020 budget, and tap off-budget allocations.
The law also authorized him to provide an emergency subsidy to around 18 million low-income households, amounting “to a minimum of P5,000 to P8,000 a month for two months … computed based on the prevailing regional minimum wage rates.”
“Such powers are good for three months. Unfortunately, two months after the effectivity of the law, the end to the pandemic is not yet in sight,” said Rodriguez, chair of the House constitutional amendments committee.
He noted that new COVID-19 positive cases were still being reported every day “and the country is not yet fully operating.”
“It is therefore clear that the pandemic will not be over by June 24,” Rodriguez said.
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